Sunday, April 29, 2007

Gear Review: lululemon's silverescent

Elaine Waterman, former New York City fashion designer….now Community Relations manager for lululemon athletica- Boulder, asked me to test lululemon’s new silverescent shirt. The garment's fabric includes silver fibers, which apparently inhibit bacteria growth and hence…..odor.

Should I have been concerned that I was asked to odor test something? Here’s what I came up with.

To be honest, I was skeptical that “silverescent” or any other odor-free fabric would live up to its reputation. Afterall for more than 20 years, I’ve worn all types of dance, yoga, and athletic clothing. Fact: when it gets sweaty….it holds body odor.

For this smell-o-rama test, I wore the lululemon silverescent shirt and a pair of my regular lycra biking shorts during a 90-minute bike ride. My thinking was:

1. that after my workout, I’d seal each item separately in a zip lock plastic baggie
2. let it ferment for a good 24 hours
3. then do a whiff test

After a 90-minute enduro bike ride, my clothes were soaking wet with perspiration. I sealed each item in it’s own zip lock baggie for 24 hours.

When the time to whiff-test rolled around….well, I thought it was going to be gross. The lululemon shirt had NO ODOR…unbelievable…and wonderful! The lycra bike shorts were smelly, ick. I know many MOUNTAINEERS (and regular people) who could benefit from silver fibered clothing.

To see what lululemon athletica has to offer, visit them at

Please feel free to contact me about testing your athletic products. You can email me through my profile on this page.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Grand Canyon, Rim to Rim to Rim

Adventure: The Rim to Rim to Rim
Grand Canyon, Arizona
Bright Angel Trail to the North Rim to the Bright Angel Trail
47 miles roundtrip, ~11,000 feet
April 21, 2007

This is the second year I’ve done the R2R2R with a group of friends in Arizona. It is nothing short of spectacular in terms of the scenery. As far as physical conditioning goes, one must be prepared for the relentless pounding on their legs and all types of conditions, from hot dry weather to snow.

Enroute to “The Big Deep” I drove up on Spirit Mountain Ranch. My daughter and I have read much about White Buffalo legends. According to the sign out front, there were White Buffalo (Bison actually) on this property.

Inside the building I met a lovely woman who spouted off facts about these rare and beautiful creatures. Then she invited me to go out to the pasture and view them as Jim was feeding them. There were EIGHT White Buffalo. Eight is the number of prosperity……infinity. These magnificent creatures were serene and beautiful.

Unfortunately, I needed to get to the Grand Canyon for some sleep before my alpine start on the R2R2R. So I bid the Buffalo, Jim and Dena Riley good-bye, and headed up to the national park.

Starting on the Bright Angel Trail at 3 am we began our descent into “The Big Deep” by headlamp. Reaching Indian Gardens in just one hour and then Phantom Ranch in a bit over two hours we were still in the dark, moving by headlamp and well on our way to the North Rim.

As we began the temperatures were much warmer than last year. I immediately stripped down to shorts and a short-sleeved shirt. We scurried past Phantom Ranch and onto Cottonwood Camp as the sun began to rise. But there were many clouds, so the temperatures remained much cooler this year (compared with April of 2006). I only drank 1.25 gallons of water for the entire journey and ate little.

Approaching this year's Rim Job as a "training outing", I paced myself up to the North Rim feeling ok and carrying lots of weight. Without doing the mega-mile training weeks, Danielle Jacobs and I managed to reach the North Rim in just under 8 hours. There, the 4th and final snow squall of the outing sent shivers through our barelegged bodies. Slipping on gloves and a coat - we turned around quickly and started down for the second half of our adventure.

At Cottonwood camp - we stopped for a longggg while - deciding to take in the unique scenery and wildlife.

At Phantom Ranch we parted ways. Danielle preferring to take the Kaibab trail up, leaving me with 9.5 miles of uppage to gain on the Bright Angel trail before dark. Even though my feet were feeling the previous 37.5 miles, the ascent went much smoother this year - somehow it seemed almost routine...just a long day.

After topping out I hit the bar for a "Bright Angel hot dog", Pint of Fat Tire, and to just take in what we'd all done. I'm not just yet ready to retire from the Rim Job outings - frankly they are a quiet mediation.

Click here for pics

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Nepal's Cafe, Estes Park

Many Colorado towns burst at the seams during the peak of tourist season. Estes Park, Colorado is no exception. With Spring well underway, the number of visitors continues to climb. Taking advantage of a recent quiet evening, my daughter and I decided to enjoy a meal at Nepal's Cafe, located at 184 East Elkhorn.

Upon entering the restaurant, we were immediately immersed in Nepalese culture. Textile Tara's dot the walls alongside picturesque poster-sized mountain photos. The service is down-home, sincere and topnotch. The smell of warm spices wafted in the air and the taste of the food was like a symphony for our taste buds. Then again, we are partial to this cuisine :-)

We enjoyed the Chat Samosas, Chicken Thali, and Chicken Vindaloo along with Chai tea. If you're in Estes Park and looking for something a bit off the beaten path, please stop by Nepal's Cafe.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Random Thoughts

While climbing at Pool Wall in Ouray last month, Michael Gilbert, Gary Ryan, and Lisa inspired me to go for the “Jillywray Traverse”.

Gary is training for some climbing in the Czech Republic later this year. He is a gifted free soloist. His climbs in the Czech Republic will be done barefoot on sketch gear. Watching him run up Annie’s ArĂȘte in his bare feet was surreal. Michael put up this climb and named it after his former wife – Annie Whitehouse (that’s Annapurna Annie). Watching Michael cruise the climb was equally impressive. He climbed it first and then we all took a wack at it.

While Gary and I were soaking in the Orvis Hotsprings, we talked a bit about our projects for this year. The power and commitment he has for free soloing was simply amazing – that guy is dialed!

As I get out more frequently….I’ll post some trip reports here. I still have a long way to go and much recon work to do in preparation for my own projects.

Whether you’re working on something special this year, or just kicking back and being “chill” – pull down hard and climb up high!

Monday, April 9, 2007

Gear Review: Carbide Spikes Grip Trail

Boulder local, Jim Collins, coined the term BHAG……Big Hairy Audacious Goal. The term BHAG aptly sums up a mountain traverse I have begun training for. It is something gigantic, outrageous, and if conditions are right, something I will attempt this fall; going bigger than I’ve ever gone before. It lives in my heart and mind for now - and I affectionally refer to it as the "Jillywray Traverse".

My training involves long hours on trails. Sunday I logged 20 muddy-sloopy-sloggin’ trail miles. At the onset of the day, there were some icy spots. These conditions were perfect for trying out Camp’s “Gripper”.

I am no stranger to trail shoe traction doo-dad’s. On this outing, my plan was to compare the traction and performance of Camp’s Gripper with 3/8” hex screws.

Camp’s Gripper did not disappoint me! Basically, it’s 20 carbide tipped spikes specially designed to go into rubber shoe/boot soles. (10 for each shoe, 4 short & 6 long) The big plus, is that Camp ships a small tool, which allows for easy insertion into the rubber sole. Getting 3/8” hex screws into your shoes without a tool is challenging to say the least. With Camp’s tool, getting your "traction fix on" is E-A-S-Y. Even though these spikes stay in the shoes under punishing conditions, removing them with the Gripper tool is a breeze.

Camp’s carbide spikes gave me just the right amount of traction. The greater surface area of the 3/8” hex screws tends to catch on rocks and other surfaces – occasionally throwing one off balance and in some cases suddenly off trail!

If you’re looking for a dependable and easy-to-use traction system for your mixed-trail outings, try Camp’s Gripper.

See Camp’s line of gear at

Friday, April 6, 2007

Enthusiast Group

Yesterday I had the pleasure of climbing with the guys from the Enthusiast Group.

Yann Ropers, Biz Dev Guru, took this pic of Derek Scruggs, Co-Founder & CEO, me, and Neal Young, Editorial & Community Manager, while we were "going big", chatting it up and having fun.

Visit the Enthusiast Group at

Thursday, April 5, 2007

Testing Gore-Tex

Yesterday, Gore-Tex was in town with their mobile Weather Chamber. Who could pass up a chance to slip into some over-sized gear and step into the Weather Chamber? As cheesy as this was fun! Their team claims the weather chamber blasts people with 22 inches of rain per hour and a 30 mph wind. Considering the water was lukewarm in temperature, this weather chamber is a walk in the park compared to full conditions on Longs Peak!

One thing I was surprised to learn, is that Gore-Tex garments should be washed and put into the dryer. This lets the fabric retain its repellent properties. At least that's what Simon recommended.